Strawberry Crumble Tart
Anything that requires minimum effort with maximum YUM and gorgeousness will always be a winner to every cook and baker in any kitchen. I personally cringe and always get stressed-out whenever I have to compose or even eat a dish with so many darn components on a plate.
My style of cooking, presenting a dish and eating is, as much as I can, always with balance, symmetry and always with focus… that, or I am just a baker and a cook with OCD who also cannot multi-task (most likely, because whenever I remember that darn Tiramisu trio sampler I prepared and plated on my very last professional kitchen gig a few months ago, I still get a bit of a surge of adrenalin rush… darn pain-in-the-butt dessert that was!). Right, and anyway, it’s been ages since I shared a recipe here, so I figured, WTH… Why not write a simple tart recipe? and make use of my Homemade Strawberry Jam from last week’s post and this 2 year old picture of a Strawberry Crumble Tart I posted but never wrote the recipe (too lazy).
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cubed cold butter
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup strawberry preserve/jam(preferably not too sweet or less sugar variety)
- Combine flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt in a bowl and mix well.
- Work the cold cubes of butter into the flour mixture with the your fingertips or use a pastry cutter. When mixture resembles pea-size rubble, add the rolled oats.
- Divide the crumble mixture in half. Firmly press half of the mixture in 9-inch round cake tin.
- Evenly spread the strawberry preserve on the tart base.
- Sprinkle the rest of the crumble mixture on top of the jam.
- Bake tart for 20-25 mins. in a 350’F oven until top of the crumble tart is light golden brown.
- Let tart slightly cool at room temperature before slicing.
- Serve with cream, strawberry coulis (optional) and slices of fresh strawberries.
Other filling suggestions that are YUM:
- Strawberry jam + peanut butter (reduce the amount of rolled oats into 1/2 cup in the crumble recipe and add 1/2 cup roasted chopped peanuts)
- Apricot preserve/jam + sultanas (golden raisins) + almond butter
- Cooked rhubarb pie filling
- Apple pie filling (home cooked or canned) or apple butter (add 1 teaspoon cinnamon in the crumble mixture)
- Orange marmalade + chopped pistachios (mix the chopped pistachios with the orange marmalade before spreading on the tart base.
This coming holiday season, I decided to start advertising my baked goods business as well as catering services online here on this new blog SCRUMPTIOUS by Goddess of Scrumptiousness [+follow] .
I will post my contact information (for orders and catering) and list of products here. I am still working on this page (as well as a Facebook page) but I will tremendously appreciate the support from any interested future clients or anyone who is kind enough to follow this page.
Thank you very much! :)
Maple and Almond Nut Tarts
Although this is my most requested pastry product by my customers, and that I always struggle with a virtue called patience, I sometimes loathe making this tart… actually it’s the pressing and moulding the sweet dough (tart shell) into mini muffin pans that always tests my patience and makes me go nutty with impatience.
But to those who are more blessed with this particular virtue, here is the recipe.
Sweet Dough (tart shell)
2 1/3 cups unsifted all-purpose flour (*spooned gently into measuring cup, do not tap or shake cup when measuring)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 whole egg
- In a food processor, pulse all sweet dough ingredients together until the dough comes together.
- Wrap dough in cling film, and chill for 30 minutes inside the fridge.
Maple and Almond Filling
2 large eggs
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons melted butter
4 cups coarsely chopped almonds (or you can also use slivered almonds)
- Mix all filling ingredients together and set the mixture aside.
- Preheat oven at 350’F
- You will need 4 mini (12-mould) muffin pans.
- Take the dough out of the fridge and scoop 1 tablespoon of dough into each mini muffin mould. Press dough and create a cylindrical indentation to hold the filling.
- Spoon filling in each prepared unbaked shells.
- Bake tarts for 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown.
- Lift tarts from moulds 5 minutes after taking the pans out of the oven. Cool tarts on wire racks.
Makes 48 mini tarts
(Black Forest Cupcakes, Maple-Butterscotch Fudge, Spiced Carrot Birthday Cake)
I always believe that if you give anybody something in the form of sustenance, something edible and that they can genuinely enjoy by themselves or even share with their loved ones, relationships of any kind becomes more comfortable and bonding. I mean food is always in the centre of any gathering or occasion, and so in my personal opinion, a gift of food is the most sensible thing one can confidently give without any apprehension of it being returned or made into a dust collector the day after.
I do not need to write about how brilliant a box of Cupcakes is to give to anyone… a significant number of the world’s population with sweet tooth loves cake, it is individually portioned, therefore, instantly shareable, and cupcakes are always neither underdressed nor overdressed in any event or celebration.
Confections , specially those homemade and handmade are the perfect gifts for those people who you consider close and dear to you. It is something about the patience and thoughtfulness that were part of the process in making candy that suggests it should definitely be given only to those who also give kindness, patience and thoughtfulness in your life.
Old school and homemade Birthday Cake…
adlib: [Although September (ahem, the 12th) is my birthday month and I did made this homey birthday cake, for the record, I don’t think I have the guts to bake and give myself a birthday cake. If I were to wish for something to stick a wishing candle into, it will either be a 20-inch pizza (with all my favourite toppings plus extra extra cheese) or a jelly donut pyramid! Mmmmm…]
Call me old fashioned, even call me old, but I still believe that buttercream frosted birthday cake with retro buttercream flowers over retro buttercream vines and leaves is still the proper birthday cake… period!
And this old school (Spiced Carrot Cake) birthday cake is for my grandmother for her to stick her birthday candle tomorrow. :)
Dark Chocolate Chips and Banana Muffins
These muffins may sound so usual but these are very light yet moist, flavourful and generously studded with dark chocolate chips.
Never mind having these for breakfast… it’s actually more perfect as a midnight snack.
5 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)
1 1/2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
4 Tablespoons baking powder
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375’ F. Line 2 medium size muffin pans with cupcake paper liners.
- Sift first 6 of the dry ingredients 3 times then mix in the dark chocolate chips. Set aside.
- Beat all wet ingredients in another bowl then pour wet mixture over the dry mixture.
- Gently and quickly mix the batter. *Muffin and quickbread batters should always be lightly mixed, over-mixing this kind of batter will result to tougher and heavier muffins/quickbreads. A quick mixing and a lumpy batter is ideal since it makes muffins and quickbreads more lighter and tender.
- To get uniform size muffins, use an ice cream scooper (I used a regular large size scooper) and scoop batter onto prepared and lined muffin pans.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until muffins are lightly golden brown and when cake tester (or even a toothpick) inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool on wire rack.
Makes 24 medium size muffins
The Makings of a Perfect Brownie:
1) A perfect brownie should be crunchy on top that the surface cracks the minute you sink your teeth into it.
2) The texture should be chewy and moist and fudge-like that the act of chewing every morsel of it is equally pleasurable as that of having a foodgasm.
3) A perfect brownie should never contain any leavening agents such as bicarbonate of soda or baking powder (unless you want a cake-like brownie, then I believe one should just eat cake instead). Any brownie recipe that includes these sacrilegious additions is well, a sacrilege!
4) The proper mixing of all the brownie ingredients is also a factor. If you just mix all the ingredients together and dump everything into a baking pan, the brownie top won’t be as crunchy, unlike when you separate the egg whites from the yolks, beating the whites with sugar just until thick and frothy, much like a runny meringue before mixing with the rest of the ingredients is the secret to a crunchy top… I promise!
5) And lastly, of course a perfect brownie should taste like it is blessed by a Mayan god cacao connoisseur. It should be ooh-ing and screaming chocolate. So use the best quality chocolate bar or cocoa powder.
Crunchy Top Fudge Brownies
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup good quality cocoa powder (I use a German brand cocoa powder -Heintz, you can use a Dutch-processed cocoa powder… means it is alkalized)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs (medium), separated
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups dark chocolate chips
*2 cups whole walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350’F. Line a 9”x13” rectangle baking pan with baking parchment.
- Melt butter in a medium sauce pan over low heat. When melted, remove from heat and add cocoa powder, mix until smooth.
- Add brown sugar, salt, vanilla, egg yolks and flour. Set Aside.
- Using a hand mixer/wire whisk/stand mixer, beat egg whites until frothy. Then slowly add the granulated sugar until meringue gets into a soft peak stage.
- Fold the meringue mixture into the chocolate mixture. Then mix in the dark chocolate chips and walnuts (optional).
- Pour into prepared baking pan and bake for 50 minutes to an hour or until when toothpick inserted in the center of the brownie comes out with moist crumbs (not wet brownie batter).
- Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then lift from the baking pan and cut into 24 square pieces. Cool cut brownies on wire racks.
- Store in an air tight container. Laid flat and layers separated by parchment paper.
Makes 2 dozens
Goddess of Scrumptiousness Food Photography and Original Recipes by Jeannie Maristela are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at goddessofscrumptiousness.tumblr.com
Basking in the warm summer sun and relishing the sweetness of Orange, Maple and Walnut Pudding
As I’ve mentioned a few times now, I love shooting food in natural light. Not only do I capture food in its natural beauty but it saves me a lot of time with the editing process.
These days I am shooting food either by the window or outdoors (not necessarily in direct sunlight, but somewhere nicely lit at the same time shaded).
More than the number of times I mentioned my fondness for shooting in natural light is the number of times I declared, and announced quite proudly, my absolute love of stale bread. I mean of course freshly baked bread is always the best to appease most people’s discerning carbohydrate cravings, but for me, I can do much more delicious dishes and make much more humble uses for stale bread other than smearing butter or pb & jam on slices of its fresh-out-of-the-oven counterpart.
With stale bread I make breadcrumbs (even better, I make my own seasoned breadcrumbs) to use as binders and extenders for meatloaf and meatballs, as breading for deep-fried dishes like schnitzels (scallopine) and to make crunchy toppings for baked mac and cheese, potato gratin and casseroles.
If I am not blitzing the semi-dry bread into crumbs, I occasionally end up making croutons and butter and sugar snack toasties (my mother’s fav to eat with coffee). But of all the possible and palatable things I can make with stale bread, making it into bread pudding (with dozens of varieties/flavors) is my most looked forward and much more pleasurable plan that is always already mapped out anytime my house is over-stocked with bread.
I found a page from my all-time favorite book Simple Pleasures : Soothing Suggestions & Small Comforts for Living Well All Year Round. The topic is about Comfort Foods and specifically how a most humble Bread and Butter Pudding can caress a most homesick heart.
"Bread pudding may be the all-purpose comfort food that is easiest to reproduce. It has inspired everyone from Leon Lianides of New York’s legendary Coach House restaurant to Marion Cunningham, who updated The Fanny Farmer Cookbook. (Cunningham pointed out that bread pudding was a "great pacifier" for boarding school students for generations- sometimes the only decent dish in the dining hall.)" - (Spring Chapter : Friends and Family, p.41)
8 slices Egg & Milk Loaf bread (can also use brioche), sliced into triangle halves
4 large eggs
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup half and half (1:1 milk + cream)
1/3 cup melted unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
zests of 1 orange
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup light brown sugar + 1 teaspoon cinnamon (to sprinkle over bread pudding before baking)
- Preheat oven to 350’F. Brush butter onto an oven/baking dish.
- Layer and overlap the bread slices in the buttered baking dish.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs, maple syrup, sugar, half and half, melted butter, vanilla, orange zests, salt and walnuts.
- Pour the egg mixture over the arranged slices of bread in the baking dish. Let the bread soak up the egg mixture, about 30 minutes.
- Mix the light brown sugar and cinnamon together. Sprinkle the mixture over the unbaked bread pudding. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until bread pudding is puffed-up and golden.
- Serve warm.
Makes 5-6 servings
Orange, Maple and Walnut Bread Pudding (unbaked)
I am very happy about how this bread pudding shoot turned out. All the lighting and the warm glow in this photograph were courtesy of the warm summer late afternoon sunlight.
I did not do any color correction or tweaking on this photo other than adjusted the size of it.
Not only that natural light made this bread pudding gorgeous in this photo, but it caught the natural bright yellows and orange hues of all the ingredients there is in this dessert dish of mine.